Inadequate Transport Derails Service Delivery

It has come to light that most government officials in the regions are unable to effectively execute their duties and programmes because hundreds of vehicles have broken down and are in need of repair at government garages around the country.

Some aggrieved government officials who are affected revealed to New Era this week the crisis has been dragging on for a while. Some ministries have now started contracting private garages to service the government fleet as the government garages take long to repair cars, said one source, but this has also not brought relief.

The ministries that are the hardest hit are Environment and Tourism and Fisheries and Marine Resources.

“Some of these government services such as that of servicing cars have been leased to private garages. But these private garages refuse to service government cars without any payment. They only service the cars once the operational budget is approved around August and September. Meaning most vehicles are standing idle and it negatively affects us in carrying out our duties because there are no vehicles,” lamented an employee in the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources.

Field work such as anti-poaching and fishing inspections are now seriously impacted. Officials also alleged that government garages do not allow them to acquire pool vehicles.

Further, the affected officials are demanding that the government fleet be serviced at government garages to avoid such hiccups. They also complained about the nullification of issuing and renewal of trip authorities by regional directorates since January this year – which they say also hampers service delivery to the public.

As part of decentralisation, central government in the past allowed regional offices to issue and renew trip authorities for their staff when required to travel on official duty.

Officials say such powers have since January this year been revoked without any explanation.

“The trip authority only lasts for a month and then it’s supposed to be renewed. But now this process is just done in Windhoek and takes up to two weeks. Now we are faced with problems because if we have emergencies to attend to such as cases of illegal fishing or poaching, we cannot travel because we don’t have authorisation. It’s like government is shooting itself in the foot on the policy of decentralisation. It’s a wrong administrative decision, we don’t believe the ministers responsible are aware of these developments,” said one of the affected officials.

The officials have demanded that government give back powers to regions to issue and renew trip authorities to enable prompt and effective service delivery.

Approached for comment, Simeon Negumbo, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Environment and Tourism admitted regional staff have raised such concerns withhead office.

“We received the complaints last week and are investigating the matter seriously. The matter is receiving our attention,” said Negumbo. Regarding the trip authority, Negumbo said the ministry initially decentralised such an activity, but it was reversed because officials misused the system.

“Staff misused the system. It’s also a temporary measure to withdraw powers from the regions to pull cars out of government garages. Now it’s only regional directors who have powers to pull out such cars,” Negumbo said without elaborating how vehicles were misused.

He said the ministry has appointed a committee to look into the concerns, adding that investigations would be completed by Friday. Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources, Ulitala Hiveluah, said: “We did not receive such complaints, but we are more than willing to look at their concerns.”

However, she explained that the issue of contracting government vehicles to private garages for servicing is not a ministerial decision but a government one.

Source : New Era